Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Women's Run

Route & General Observations

We left the Marmot lot around 11:30AM to tour up 4068 in search of cold snow on northerly aspects. After one run on 4068 we pushed back for a short run on Women’s Run, where the avalanche occurred around 3:00PM. We skinned back up to the ridge and skied one more run off of 4068 to head back to the car.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

The video shows the skier remotely triggering the slab from the far side of the rock outcrop. This is classic persistent slab behavior and is not uncommon for the party to have not experienced any red flags prior to triggering the avalanche.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Yes
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Northwest
Elevation 3600ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 8inWidth 60ft
Vertical Run 150ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Avalanche Details

While we did note the warming temperatures, the snow quality remained very good and we saw lots of people skiing with no signs of recent instability. The run I skied had a slightly more westerly cant to it than anything else we skied that day, and while the snow quality did not show signs of significant solar radiation at that point, it must have been enough to create the slab. I chose a line with an open face next to a band of rocks. I made one turn close to the most prominent rock outcropping before turning back to the open face, which I believe is the turn that triggered the slide. The avalanche propagated away from me and down slope probably over 50 feet. I did not notice the slide had occurred until a came around to the bottom of the rocks. I was able to ski away without getting caught, and the left flank of the avy did cross my tracks. Amazingly, we got a full video of the incident, and it was interesting/spooky to see how long after the trigger the slab released. Fortunately, my line choice was away from the avalanche. I will work with HPAC to get the video posted. Please note all measurements listed above are approximations.

Events of the day

We were enjoying the beautiful weather and finding lots of high quality snow to ski on North facing aspects. After skiing 4068, we pushed back to Women's Run, where the avalanche incident happened around 3:00 PM. We were skiing fairly mellow terrain throughout the day, and chose this run because it was short and offered multiple runs for the rest of the group. The first and last skier skied a lower angle bench that was facing more to the north. I skied second and chose a slightly steeper shot that was facing more to the west and my line choice luckily kept me out of the way of the slide. While the sun was starting to bake southerly aspects, the snow quality on this run remained low in density. We skinned back up to the ridge and skied one more off of 4068 to head back towards the car.

Rescue events


Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

The recent avalanches we saw today all happened during the storm. There were no signs of instability throughout our ski day and the biggest red flag of the day was the warming temperatures.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Clear skies, moderate temperatures, and minimal to no wind.

Snow surface

Low density fresh snow on northerly aspects. Southerly aspects began to bake throughout the day.


No formal snow pit was dug. Poking around off trail and a couple of hand pits throughout the day showed an unconsolidated layer of fresh snow 6-10" deep.

Photos & Video
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